In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
Sermon Delivered on Friday 22nd Shawwal, 1436 (7th August, 2015) at the Main Mosque, Fountain University, Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria
THE CRAVE FOR THIS WORLD
Mankind has been engrossed with the love of and excessive crave for this world that he has lost focus and the very essence of his creation by Allah (SWT) has eluded him. Allah told us clearly that He has created us only to worship Him, which is our primary assignment on earth; it must be observed before anything else. All other things must be observed towards the end of making worship an easy task, not as the sole aim of our existence. Allah states:
﴿أَلْهَـكُمُ التَّكَّاثُرُ - حَتَّى زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ - كَلاَّ سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ - ثُمَّ كَلاَّ سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ - كَلاَّ لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ - لَتَرَوُنَّ الْجَحِيمَ - ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ - ثُمَّ لَتُسْـَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ ﴾
The mutual increase diverts you, Until you visit the graves. Nay! You shall come to know! Again nay! You shall come to know! Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge. Verily, you shall see the blazing Fire! And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight! Then on that Day you shall be asked about the delights! Q102:1-8.
The pursuit of worldly treasure and pleasure, and the desire to amass fortunes has caused man to become heedless of Allah’s worship. Man has been created to love the worldly pleasures as Allah says:
﴿زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَتِ مِنَ النِّسَآءِ وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَـطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالأَنْعَـمِ وَالْحَرْثِ ذَلِكَ مَتَـعُ الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا وَاللَّهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَأَبِ ﴾
Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver, branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world's life; but Allah has the excellent return with Him. Q3:14.
He strives to amass wealth and forgets to pray, or he does not pray within the prescribed time. He ignores zakah and charity, which are his responsibilities. Allah the Exalted also sets a parable for this life, declaring that its joys are fading and its delights are perishable. Allah says:
﴿اعْلَمُواْ أَنَّمَا الْحَيَوةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِى الاٌّمْوَلِ وَالاٌّوْلْـدِ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرّاً ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَاماً وَفِى الاٌّخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَنٌ وَمَا الْحَيَوةُ الدُّنْيَآ إِلاَّ مَتَـعُ الْغُرُورِ - سَابِقُواْ إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا كَعَرْضِ السَّمَآءِ وَالاٌّرْضِ أُعِدَّتْ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَآءُ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ ﴾
Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children. (It is) like a rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment, and (there is) forgiveness from Allah and (His) pleasure. And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment. Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord, and Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heaven and the earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He is pleased with. And Allah is the Owner of great bounty. Q57:20-21.
Allah, therefore, admonishes man to be seeking Paradise and Heavenly pleasures. Contrary to this advice, man excessively craves for this world, which may be useless to him if he doesn’t utilise it properly. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
«يَقُولُ الْعَبْدُ: مَالِي مَالِي، وَإِنَّمَا لَهُ مِنْ مَالِهِ ثَلَاثٌ: مَا أَكَلَ فَأَفْنَى، أَوْ لَبِسَ فَأَبْلَى، أَوْ تَصَدَّقَ فَأَمْضَى، وَمَا سِوَى ذَلِكَ فَذَاهِبٌ وَتَارِكُهُ لِلنَّاس»
The servant says "My wealth, my wealth.'' Yet he only gets three (benefits) from his wealth: that which he eats and finishes, that which he wears until it is worn out, or that which he gives in charity and it is spent. Everything else other than that will go away and leave him for the people. (Muslim).
Man has forgotten that the wealth he amasses will not follow him to his grave, only his deeds will. Anas bin Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
«يَتْبَعُ الْمَيِّتَ ثَلَاثَةٌ، فَيَرْجِعُ اثْنَانِ وَيَبْقَى مَعَهُ وَاحِدٌ: يَتْبَعُهُ أَهْلُهُ وَمَالُهُ وَعَمَلُهُ، فَيَرْجِعُ أَهْلُهُ وَمَالُهُ، وَيَبْقَى عَمَلُه»
Three things follow the deceased person, and two of them return while one will remain behind with him. The things which follow him are his family, his wealth and his deeds. His family and his wealth return while his deeds remain. (Al-Bukhari and others).
Unfortunately, man gives more attention to those that will return and is heedless of the only one that will remain with him in his grave. This is the unfortunate nature of man as reported by Anas that the Prophet said:
«يَهْرَمُ ابْنُ آدَمَ وَيَبْقَى مِنْهُ اثْنَتَانِ: الْحِرْصُ وَالْأَمَل»
The Son of Adam becomes old with senility, but yet two things remain with him: greed and hope. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Man continues to think that his efforts will make him attain worldly pleasures, forgetting that it is not certain as it is Allah that distributes it the way He likes. If man does not return to his Lord, he will continue to be in his state of heedlessness till he is visited by death which is certain. Worldly success is not certain, only death is! Man strives to attain worldly success while death approaches him from behind. The following verses are instructive:
﴿مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ حَرْثَ الاٌّخِرَةِ نَزِدْ لَهُ فِى حَرْثِهِ وَمَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ حَرْثَ الدُّنْيَا نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَمَا لَهُ فِى الاٌّخِرَةِ مِن نَّصِيبٍ﴾
Whosoever desires the reward of the Hereafter, We give him increase in his reward, and whosoever desires the reward of this world, We give him thereof, and he has no portion in the Hereafter. Q42:20.
﴿مَّن كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعَـجِلَةَ عَجَّلْنَا لَهُ فِيهَا مَا نَشَآءُ لِمَن نُّرِيدُ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَا لَهُ جَهَنَّمَ يَصْلَـهَا مَذْمُومًا مَّدْحُورًا - وَمَنْ أَرَادَ الاٌّخِرَةَ وَسَعَى لَهَا سَعْيَهَا وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَـئِكَ كَانَ سَعْيُهُم مَّشْكُورًا ﴾
Whoever desires the quick-passing (transitory enjoyment of this world), We readily grant him what We will for whom We like. Then, afterwards, We have appointed for him Hell; he will burn therein disgraced and rejected. And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it while he is a believer, then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated, (rewarded by Allah). Q17:18-19.
Because of his greed and false hopes, man neglects his duty to his Lord and death catches up with him. He visits the grave and comes in contact with certainty. He will then receive the rewards of his worldly efforts. Allah will hold him to account concerning all his favours on him:
﴿ثُمَّ لَتُسْـَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ ﴾
Then on that Day you shall be asked about the delights! Q102:8.
Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet said:
«نِعْمَتَانِ مَغْبُونٌ فِيهِمَا كَثِيرٌ مِنَ النَّاسِ: الصِّحَّةُ وَالْفَرَاغ»
Two favours are treated unjustly by most people: health and free time. (Al-Bukhari and others).
This means that man lacks gratitude for these two favours. He does not fulfil their obligations to them. Therefore, whoever does not maintain the right that is obligatory upon him, then he is unjust. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet said:
«يَقُولُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ : يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ، حَمَلْتُكَ عَلَى الْخَيْلِ وَالْإِبِلِ، وَزَوَّجْتُكَ النِّسَاءَ، وَجَعَلْتُكَ تَرْبَعُ وَتَرْأَسُ، فَأَيْنَ شُكْرُ ذَلِكَ؟»
Allah the Mighty and Majestic says on the Day of Judgement, "O Son of Adam! I made you ride upon the horses and camels, I gave you women to marry, and I made you reside and rule (in the earth). So where is the thanks for that''. (Ahmad).
The believers are therefore enjoined to seek Allah’s blessings in their worldly pursuits. Seeking the worldly pleasures should be with modesty and neither with complete neglect nor with excessiveness. Whatever one attains in this world should be used to worship Allah as a sign of gratitude and should be used to ease the task of fulfilling our primary assignment on this earth. May Allah crown all our efforts with success.
SALAU, A. K., Ph. D.
Biochemistry & Nutrition Unit,
Department of Chemical Sciences,
Fountain University, Osogbo, Nigeria